Adult Swim’s cult classic death metal parody series Metalocalypse has brought their latest venture in the form of the animated movie Metalocalypse: Army of the Doomstar, which concludes the lush beauty of the gory, satanic spectacle, the bone-tickling humor, and profanity-filled self-awareness of the series with one last death smash and headbanger. Centered around the fictional death metal band Dethklok, the series pokes fun at the exalted mannerisms and myths generally associated with the heavy metal genre and celebrates its tropes and impact. It is unknown whether Kiminori Wakasugi’s manga series based on a similar subject matter, Detroit Metal City, inspired the creation of the series, but what we know for sure is that the original albums, expansive in-universe lore, and live tours in the real world have imbued a uniqueness to Metalocalypse, something that is far from waning even after a decade since the original series’ cancellation.
The events of Army of the Doomstar take place right after the ending of the one-hour special Metalocalypse: The Doomstar Requiem, where the band rescued their rhythm guitarist Toki Wartooth and their producer Abigail from the clutches of Metal Masked Assassin and their former band member, Magnus Hammersmith. The impending doom of Metalocalypse was also prophesied as the ominous cosmic body Doomstar drew closer to the Earth, and with that, the doomsday clock started ticking. The secretive organization Tribunal, led by the mysterious Mr. Salacia (voiced by none other than the legendary Mark Hamill), is biding its time to ensure the downfall of the most popular band in the world, Dethklok, not knowing that the band could be the only solution to the upcoming Armageddon.
Why Does Nathan Need To Write The Song Of Salvation?
After a prolonged hiatus, Dethklok is back on track with the announcement that they’re releasing a new album and conducting a world tour. However, the lead vocalist of the band, Nathan Explosion, is going through a mental crisis after returning from their last adventure rescuing Toki, as he is being plagued with nightmarish visions around the clock. Nathan’s condition results in the band failing to live up to the promises and, subsequently, a global economic crisis, which is understandable given how much of an impact the band, with billions of fans, must have. Nathan is also tired of the banality of the band’s usual routine and wants to propose to Abigail, with whom he is in a make-believe relationship.
On the other hand, at the Tribunal HQ in the Arctic, Salacia plans to bring about the end of the world by drawing the Doomstar right towards Earth and using his telepathic hold on his lackeys in the Tribunal to force his command. General Crozier, whose anti-Dethklok stance made him a part of the organization, is horrified to learn about the altered motivations of the group and tries to leak information to the outside world. Crozier gets caught by Vater Orlaag and is brought to Salacious, who orders his lackeys to find the Army of Doomstar, the prophesied group dedicated to stopping the metalocalypse, and distract Nathan Explosion to keep him from writing the Song of Salvation, the only deterrent to the cataclysmic event. Salacious also adds that the former manager of Dethklok, Charles Offdensen, needs to be dealt with seriously, as he has become a threat after gaining much knowledge about the Metalocalypse.
The band gathers at the Church of Black Klok, the associate religious body that has long anticipated the arrival of the band for their eventual role in stopping the Metalocalypse and has later assisted in numerous troublesome situations. At the congregation, the members of the church mourn the death of Ishfinus Meaddle, the former high priest of the religious sect who sacrificed his life during the events of Doomstar Requiem, which led to his protégé Offdensen taking up the mantle. Offdensen instructs Nathan to shoulder the duties of writing the Song of Salvation but finds him unwilling to do so as he wants to settle down in a normal life, leaving all the mind-boggling catastrophes behind. However, after Abigail rejects his proposal of marriage, Nathan lashes out at his fans and begrudgingly agrees to take on the burden of responsibility.
Did Salacia Succeed In His Plans?
Offdensen appoints the former Dethklok producer, Dick Knubbler, as the band’s guide, who escorts them to an undisclosed medieval highland fortress where Nathan and co. need to spend their time and churn out the Song of Salvation. However, an overwhelming mental burden has resulted in Nathan’s writer’s block, and he is unable to come up with a single word. He tries to focus on subjects that are dear to him—their band, fans, family, and loved ones—but fails to conjure anything. Meanwhile, Salacia possesses the stupidest member of the band, William Murderface, and, using him, learns about the location of the Army of the Doomstar.
Under Knubbler’s guidance, Nathan communicates with the Whale Prophet, whose cryptic message about the choice between offense and assistance is the way to clarify his mind and compose the song. The moment of doom draws closer as Doomstar enters Earth’s atmosphere and turns the planet into an absolute hellscape. The globally telecasted live performance of the band doesn’t help to stop the Metalocalypse, and using the chaotic situation to his advantage, Salacia attacks the fortress and annihilates the army of the Doomstar. Knubbler sacrifices his life in defense of the band, leaving the members wrecked with pain and regret.
Did Dethklok Find Salvation In The End?
General Crozier approaches the band, and despite Nathan initially attacking him on suspicion of working for Salacia and Tribunal, he states that he wants to aid them in stopping Metalocalypse and also that Salacia’s hold over him was relinquished after he jumped into the water. The band finds out that Murderface was similarly possessed by Salacia and exorcises him by submerging him in water—almost like a baptism. Upon waking up, Murderface is seemingly ashamed and questions his relevance in the band, but the band reassures him of his importance by reminding him how pathetic he is at everything. Pickle, the band’s percussionist, helps Nathan see the entire situation from a new angle—from a broader perspective. So far, he has alienated everyone he held dear, and he realizes now is the time for him to call them back and make amends. Nathan feels confident that this can finally help him create a hopeful composition, the Song of Salvation.
Nathan takes the band to Edgar Jomfru, the wheelchair-riding nerdy inventor and the biggest fan of Dethklok, to come up with a plan to telecast their performance worldwide once again. Jomfru hooks them up with the universal stereo, which the band has to install all over the world to create a seamless network. Jomfru also warns them about the motives of Salacia, who has brought the Doomstar right next to the Earth to access its portal, which will release his souls and turn him into his most empowered form. In order to do that, he needs the power of the Dethklok.
The band performs the Song of Salvation, and Nathan manages to inspire the remaining global populace with his words of hope. However, Salacia’s forces attack and capture the band members, whom Salacia uses to open the Doomstar portal and assume his most empowered form, and to reach the maturity of that form, he enters the cocoon stage. Jomfru, who had escaped early, destroyed Salacia’s cocoon station and, in the process, sacrificed their lives. The Dethklok members manage to escape their shackles thanks to their sacrifice but get apprehended by the Tribunal’s soldiers, whom Vater Orlaag unleashes on them.
Just when it seems there is no way out for the band, Offdensen leads a huge crowd of Dethklok fans to the location in the nick of time and launches an attack on the Tribunal. Orlaag gets brutally killed, General Crozier instructs the US military to protect the civilians and Dethklok, and the band prepares for one final showdown with Salacia, who has emerged in his true, gigantic form. Using the cosmic power of metal, Dethklok drives Salacia to the waters, where the Prophet Whale lunges and devours him at once.
With all things said and done, a new day rises on the horizon. The Metalocalypse has been averted with the combined effort of Dethklok and its fans. Nathan realizes that the fans of Dethklok were the Army of Doomstar all along, to whom he apologizes for his past conduct and acknowledges the fans’ love. At this moment, the movie turns into a metanarrative, as it seems that creators Brendon Small and Tommy Blacha are directly talking to the fans of the series and expressing their gratitude. Dethklok and its fans prepare for an encore, and we, too, hope that someday, in the near future, the journey resumes once again.